Bookmark Black Hole 7-21-2013

I got a lot more reading done this week, but only thanks to insomnia.

The specialty of foreign-affairs blogging is explaining to a supposedly uninformed public the complexities of the outside world. Because blogging isn’t reporting, nor is it subject to much editing (let alone peer review), posts like [this] are particularly vulnerable to their author’s blind spots and risk endogenizing, instead of detecting and flushing out, the bullshit in their source material.


This is an endemic problem across the massive middlebrow “Ideas” industry that has overwhelmed the Internet, taking over from more expensive activities like research and reporting.

“[F]ast forward a bit and… I think there is going to be a device in the ceiling with microphones, and it will be in my glasses or my wristwatch or my shirt. And like the Google Glass it won’t have a keyboard… you just say ‘OK Google, blah-blah-blah’ and you get what you want.”

A microphone in every room connected directly to the internet? Sure. Why not. (That’s Google engineering director Scott Huffman talking, by the way.)

“I was one of Dan Ellsberg’s lawyers.”

[The NSA] is a very big part of the very dangerous Military-Industrial Complex that President Dwight Eisenhower described as he left office in 1960. Then it was the Armed Forces; today it is the NSA and CIA. Then it was Lockheed; today it is Google.

Bamford is one of the few writers who knows what he’s talking about when he talks about the NSA.

Hundreds of millions of times a day, thirsty Americans open a can of soda, beer or juice. And every time they do it, they pay a fraction of a penny more because of a shrewd maneuver by Goldman Sachs and other financial players that ultimately costs consumers billions of dollars.

Unknown to most, a single committee of the AMA, the chief lobbying group for physicians, meets confidentially every year to come up with values for most of the services a doctor performs. …

But the AMA’s estimates of the time involved in many procedures are exaggerated, sometimes by as much as 100 percent.

That sure rings a bell.

Only to a next-door neighbor and close co-workers did Ms. Nichols hint that her husband’s oddities bothered her, too. She told [one friend] that she disliked the house’s clutter and wished that her husband had not kept their dead cat frozen in their refrigerator: she dreaded opening it to cook.

Truly creepy domestic violence story, complete with bizarre hoarding behavior and incompetent police.

[C]ampers had already defaced one of the signs with graffiti and a Cascadian flag sticker. The crowd outside City Hall had expanded into Chapman and Lownsdale squares—home to 2011’s Occupy Portland protests—and included a shirtless toddler, several dogs and a white rat.

The politics of Occupy was always a mess but Cascadia, now? This is why East Coast people roll their eyes at the West Coast.

“Let’s say a Mexican drug lord has a bank account in Mexico that contains millions from the drug trade. He also has an account in Switzerland with nothing in it. Using its software, the bank sees the account balance in Mexico and grants him a loan in his Swiss account worth the same amount. The money is now laundered and the drug lord can even write off the interest on that debt from his taxes.”

Perhaps taking a cue from American liberals.

“Hi Juan, I wanted to speak with you in person about what’s going on. In general, we feel that you have out grown the company and it would be better for your career to move on.”